Tel Aviv police chief's resignation triggers protests, clashes in Israel

Tel Aviv police chief's resignation triggers protests, clashes in Israel

Demonstrators barricade Ayalon Highway for hours

By Enes Canli

JERUSALEM (AA) - The resignation of Tel Aviv police chief triggered widespread protests and clashes throughout the country on Wednesday, particularly in Tel Aviv.

Announcing his resignation at a press conference, Ami Eshed, citing pressure from far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, said he failed to meet the expectations of the ministry as he did not challenge the rules, protocols, organizational structure and culture.

He further said: "I am paying a heavy price to prevent civil war."

Eshed had been previously dismissed for his lenient intervention during the months-long protests in Tel Aviv against the government's contentious judicial arrangement, but was later reinstated by Ben-Gvir.

Eshed acknowledged that they had the option to forcefully open the Ayalon Highway, Tel Aviv's main artery that was blocked by protesters, adding that he chose not to take that course of action.

Shortly after Eshed's resignation announcement, thousands of people flooded the streets of Tel Aviv in protest. Demonstrators barricaded the Ayalon Highway in both directions for hours, using Israeli flags and setting fires and fireworks on the road.

Israeli police intervened using water cannons.

In one instance, a confrontation erupted between a driver who attempted to navigate through the protesters after being stuck in traffic. The police reportedly detained the driver.

The demonstrations in West Jerusalem centered around Paris Square, situated near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence.

According to reports from Israeli media, anti-government protest groups mobilized in approximately 30 locations nationwide. At least 25 individuals have been detained by the police, including 15 in Tel Aviv.

*Writing by Servet Gunerigok

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